Life Advocacy Briefing

December 22, 2008


Merry Christmas! / Conscience Rule Finalized / Conscience Right Respected
/ Paul Weyrich’s Victory Lap / Getting Ready / PP Probe, Defunding Campaign Started /
Defund Planned Parenthood!

Merry Christmas!

HERE WE ARE AT CHRISTMAS WEEK, and we wish all our readers a blessed celebration, with family and friends, of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ as a vulnerable – yea, helpless – human baby for the sake of us sinners, to offer Himself as sacrifice for atonement and reconciliation with the Father.

We expect this edition of Life Advocacy Briefing – the 50th edition of this, our 15th year – will be the last until 2009. Look for us in the new year, and pray up to be ready for the coming challenges. They will be many.


Conscience Rule Finalized

THE LONG-AWAITED ‘CONSCIENCE RULE’ WAS PUBLISHED in Friday’s Federal Register and is set to take effect Jan. 20 at 12:01 a.m. – as it happens, the very day of the Presidential inauguration of one who is expected by his abortion industry backers to cancel it.

The new President will not have the power on his own, however, to repeal the statutory medical provider conscience provisions the rule is intended to implement. “Federal protection of provider conscience rights dates back to the 1970s,” notes a news release from the Dept. of Health & Human Services announcing the new regulation. “The [Church] Amendments protect health care providers and other individuals from discrimination by recipients of HHS funds on the basis, among other things, of their refusal, due to religious belief or moral conviction, to perform or participate in any lawful health service or research activity.” Such “service[s]” and activities would certainly include committing abortion or aiding medical experiments in which embryonic boys and girls are sacrificed.

More recently the statutory law has prohibited, by a 1996 law sponsored by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), “federal, state or local governments from discriminating against individual and institutional health care providers (including participants in medical training programs),” notes the release, “who refused to, among other things, receive training in abortions; require or provide such training; perform abortions; or provide referrals for, or make arrangements for, such training or abortions.”

The department’s chief, Secretary Mike Leavitt, initiated the Medical Provider Conscience Regulation in response to an attempt by ACOG (the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists) to force all ob/gyns either to commit or at least refer for abortion and even, if unwilling to commit such child killings, to locate their offices in proximity to abortionists.

“The new regulation will increase awareness of and compliance with [the] laws” enacted “over the past three decades,” notes the release, “to safeguard the freedom of healthcare providers to practice according to their conscience. …

“‘Doctors and other healthcare providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience,’” Secy. Leavitt said in the release. “‘This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience.’”

It also serves, notes David Stevens MD, CEO of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Assn. in a CMA news release, “‘to protect patients who want access to conscientious and compassionate care from Life-affirming physicians. These objective standards have for millennia formed the foundation,’” Dr. Stevens said in the CMA release, “‘of patient care and protection, and this regulation ensures that physicians and others won’t be run out of the profession for upholding those standards.’”

Care Net pregnancy centers network president Melinda Delahoyde joined in praise of the new regulation, noting in a Care Net news release: “‘Care Net and its national network of pregnancy centers rely on the availability of healthcare providers who have the right to conscientiously object to abortion. These healthcare providers – RNs, nurse practitioners and physicians – provide critical free services at pregnancy centers to those facing unplanned pregnancies and other health concerns. Without these new conscience protections,’” said Ms. Delahoyde in the Care Net release, “‘fewer healthcare providers would be available to serve this at-risk population in our nation’s pregnancy centers.’”

Care Net’s national medical consultant Dr. Sandy Christiansen also weighed in, quoted in the Care Net release declaring, “‘These new regulations send a message to both current and aspiring healthcare providers that their personal code of ethics, their conscience and their adherence to the Hippocratic Oath matter and will be protected.’ When Dr. Christiansen was an intern,” notes the Care Net release, “she was denied operating room privileges by her chief resident, who explained it was because she was not ‘working hard doing the abortions’ like others and thus would not get that ‘perk.’ Later, as a chief resident,” the Care Net release adds, “she was humiliated by the attending physician in front of her team of residents, interns and students when she would not [commit] an abortion on a patient whose baby was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. … Not once,” notes Care Net, “were Dr. Christiansen’s faith-based convictions validated in these experiences nor was she informed of her rights according to existing law to protect against this kind of discrimination.”

The HHS release quotes the department’s Assistant Secretary of Health, Admiral Joxel Garcia MD: “‘Many healthcare providers routinely face pressure to change their medical practice – often in direct opposition to their personal convictions. During my practice as an ob/gyn, I witnessed this firsthand. Healthcare providers shouldn’t have to check their consciences at the hospital door,’” he said, adding that while Congress has “‘enacted several laws to that end, … too many are unaware these protections exist.’”

Now they know. Will they truly advocate the repeal of actual choice?

We can be thankful that Secy. Leavitt has followed through and promulgated the regulation before leaving office. Regardless of what the new President does with it, the Medical Provider Conscience Protection regulation is a fine legacy for a pro-life public servant and its underlying legislation is worth fighting to maintain.


Conscience Right Respected

IF ILLINOIS LEGISLATORS ARE LOOKING FOR INCIDENTS wherein Rod Blagojevich (D), has abused his power as governor, they need look no further than his 2005 “emergency rule” ordering Illinois pharmacists who conscientiously object to the “morning-after pill” to stock and dispense the megadose abortifacient or face state sanctions, including loss of license.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled last week that “pharmacists may now defend their right of conscience” against the rule, reports Richard Baker, Chicago attorney from the firm of Mauck & Baker, which had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Illinois and American Pharmacists Associations in a case brought by two pharmacists challenging the rule.

Pharmacists Luke VanderBleek and Glen Kosirog “claimed in a nine-count complaint,” reports Mr. Baker in his news release celebrating the vital ruling, “that the governor’s dictate and the administrative rule that followed were violations of their statutorily and constitutionally protected rights to conscience and free exercise of religion. …

“‘No pharmacist should ever be forced to choose between their conscience and their livelihood,’ said [Mr.] Baker” in the release. “‘This decision is good news in light of the many legislative initiatives [in various states] to override the conscience of those, like [the two complainants], who seek to follow the dictates of conscience in practicing their profession. We would all do well to pay more attention to our consciences,’” said Mr. Baker, adding, “‘the governor included.’”

Though the high court ruling did not overturn the rule itself, it did clear the way for the complainants to pursue their litigation challenging its constitutionality; a lower court had earlier dismissed the suit on grounds of standing, ripeness and failure to exhaust administrative remedies. That dismissal was upheld by an appellate panel on a split decision but further appealed to the state supreme court, which last Thursday ordered the trial court – in Illinois, the “circuit court” – to hear the complaint.

Mr. Baker said he was “‘pleased with the result and hope[d] that the circuit court, on remand, will vindicate the fundamental right of pharmacists in Illinois to follow their conscience in their vocation.’”


Paul Weyrich’s Victory Lap

WE LOST A HERO last Thursday in the passing of Paul Weyrich, founder of Free Congress Foundation but more importantly one of the two principal founders (the other being Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly) of the pro-family movement, tying “social” with “fiscal” conservatism as a winning coalition.

Mr. Weyrich was gifted with a keen mind for effective strategy, with a laser focus on principle. He had no use for compromise or even timidity in the defense of Life, family, morality and ethics, and he was fiercely loyal to those who stood tall.

He left us early, at the age of 66, but he suffered stoically in such pain during the last several years – keeping up his life work despite huge physical obstacles – we can mourn his passing but at the same time thank the Lord for His mercy. Paul Weyrich has run the race and attained the prize. We will sorely miss him.


Getting Ready

AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE HAS RELEASED its 2009 Model Legislation & Policy Guides for use by state legislators and Member of Congress – as well as by citizens and pro-life groups wishing to influence lawmakers. The publication may be found at; the organization may be contacted at 312/492-7234.

“AUL now offers 23 pieces of model legislation,” the Chicago-based pro-life law firm explained in its news release announcing the publication, “on key issues related to abortion, protection of unborn victims of violence, bioethics, healthcare rights of conscience and the end of life.”

The freshly updated policy manual includes “a state legislative resolution opposing the federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a prohibition on coerced abortions and the Child Protection Act,” which the news release describes as “comprehensive legislation to ensure abortion providers report child sexual abuse and prevent the transportation of children across state lines for clandestine abortions.”


PP Probe, Defunding Campaign Started

AN INDIANA STATE LAWMAKER HAS CALLED FOR DEFUNDING Planned Parenthood after a second Indiana PP abortuary – this one in Indianapolis – was exposed counseling a woman posing as a pregnant 13-year-old in procuring an abortion without state-required parental notification and violating the state’s provisions requiring medical providers to report suspected cases of statutory rape to child protection authorities.

State Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) further called for a state investigation. Attorney General Steve Carter opened just such a probe last Monday, reports Live Action’s Lila Rose, the 20-year-old UCLA journalism student who posed as the 13-year-old, claiming to have been impregnated by a 31-year-old “boyfriend” in the clandestinely videotaped Planned Parenthood visits. “We applaud Mr. Carter’s integrity and urge him to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” said Miss Rose in a news release, “despite any political attacks Planned Parenthood may attempt against him personally or his office.” Miss Rose further called on PP to cooperate. “Mandatory reporting laws are necessary for the protection of young girls,” she noted, “and Planned Parenthood must not be allowed to sabotage them.”


Defund Planned Parenthood!

Text of Nov. 13, 2008, letter to state lawmakers from Family Research Council (FRC) government affairs vice president Thomas E. McClusky

On behalf of Family Research Council (FRC) and the thousands of families we represent, I want to thank you for your dedication to public service by serving in your state legislature. The responsibilities your constituency has bestowed upon you are not small. As our third President, Thomas Jefferson, once said, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

I write today to ask you to halt taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood in your state.

Most likely the issue that is upfront in your state is the current financial crisis we are all facing. As many state and local governments, as well as families, are tightening their budgets to weather this fiscal storm, I ask that you take a second look at the funding of the controversial corporation Planned Parenthood within your state.

While many organizations are facing the same fiscal dilemmas, Planned Parenthood is not. They jumped from making $972 million in 2005-06 to $1.017 billion in the 2006-07 fiscal year, according to its recently released annual report. Of last year’s revenue, $336.7 million, or about one-third, came in government grants and contracts. Since 1987, Planned Parenthood has taken in $3.2 billion in taxpayer funds.

Planned Parenthood has used this generous influx of taxpayer dollars to build expansive mega-centers in minority areas while building unnecessary luxury centers in middle-class neighborhoods. In addition, these government grants at the local, state and federal level ha[ve] allowed Planned Parenthood to support candidates who will continue this money stream and to lobby against initiatives such as parental notification laws in cases of minors seeking an abortion.

Proponents of Planned Parenthood argue that the money goes to services other than abortion, usually emphasizing adoption work. However, according to the most recent figures, Planned Parenthood did 264,943 abortions in 2005, an increase of over 100,000 from the year before (those abortions generated an estimated $99 million profit for Planned Parenthood). In contrast, adoption referrals by Planned Parenthood have been steadily decreasing from 1,774 customers in 2003 to 1,414 in 2004. In other words, for every 180 abortions Planned Parenthood did, they offered one adoption referral.

Taxpayers should not be funding a billion-dollar organization that has been surrounded by controversy. It has been reported that Planned Parenthood clinics have not been complying with state statutory rape laws. A number of Planned Parenthood clinics have also been exposed [in] fiscal misconduct, such as California and Chicago. And in many states, Planned Parenthood has been exposed [in] a willingness to accept donations with offensive racial overtones.

We should not be sending taxpayer money to an organization such as Planned Parenthood that performs abortions or violates state laws designed to protect young women.

Family Research Council looks forward to working with you and helping you gather the information you need about Planned Parenthood in your state in the effort to halt that funding. We urge you to join locales like Sarasota County in Florida, Corpus Christi in Texas and the state of Georgia in ensuring that the billion-dollar controversial business of Planned Parenthood does not receive further taxpayer funding.


Permission granted to quote with attribution. Reproduction rights granted only by express authorization.